Ground Screws and Sustainable Construction

Over the coming decades one of the biggest challenges we face globally is climate change, within the construction sector it is important that we find alternative, lower carbon methods of construction, along with sourcing materials that have low environmental and ecological impact. But what is sustainable construction and how do helical ground screws fit into the sustainable construction philosophy?

What is sustainable construction?

In the dictionary, sustainable has the definition of being ‘able to be maintained at a certain rate or level’. When we apply this in the context of construction it means that projects should consider the environmental, economic and societal impacts of their construction, alongside the more common considerations of building costs and timescales.

Sustainable construction promotes the idea of conscious handling and use of resources to ensure materials are available for future generations. Traditionally the construction industry relies heavily on natural and finite resources, but innovative sustainable construction methods and materials are helping reinvent the construction industry.

There are now a growing number of sustainable construction standards in place across the world, within Europe sustainable construction is covered under ISO 15634. These standards ensure that all the entire life cycle of a building project is examined, including the construction, use and eventual removal/disposal of the building. In July 2021 The British Standards Institute released framework for their new sustainable construction standard BS EN 15643 and covers the three aspects of environmental, economic and societal impact of construction.

Sustainable construction starts at the foundations

Choosing sustainable materials for your construction project should start with the foundations, traditional concrete foundations not only have a large carbon footprint, but they often require site excavation and a large labour force. Choosing an alternative sustainable foundation system such as helical ground screws will provide you with a foundation system that meets the three main criteria of sustainable construction: Environment, economic and society.

Environmental Benefits

There are a wide range of benefits to using helical ground screws as an alternative to concrete foundations, the first being the material used. Helical ground screws are made from galvanised steel, research shows that building in steel is more environmentally friendly than concrete, concrete also makes up 8% of worldwide carbon emissions (, so replacing its use in construction where possible can help to reduce the rate of emissions from concrete manufacturing.

Another environmental benefit is the way that ground screws are installed, helical ground screws are a displacement foundation and are installed by driving them into the ground, much like a screw into wood. This means there is no need to dig large trenches or have heavy machinery on site that could damage the local ecology on site. Due to the nature of helical ground screws they can also help to protect tree roots on site, as there is a much smaller amount of material placed at a subterranean level.

Economical Benefits

There are a number of economical benefits to using helical ground screw foundations, the first being that as there is no need to dig trenches then there is no material to be moved from the site, reducing project costs as waste removal from site is reduced.

Another economical benefit of ground screws comes from their dismantling, the screws can be easily removed from site and recycled, providing some additional economic benefit to the project at the end of its life time.

Societal Benefits

There are a number of societal benefits to using ground screws, the first being that their relative ease of installation provides a lower level of noise pollution on site, allowing for construction to be completed without causing noise distress to local residents in the area. Due to the reduced need for earth moving, helical ground screw foundations can reduce mess onsite, providing a more aesthetically tidy construction site for those with regular direct view of the site.

Due to the ease with which ground screws can be installed and removed, they can easily be adjusted to changing living situations and provide a sustainable foundation system for temporary accommodations such as container conversions.


It is clear that helical ground screws make for an alternative foundation system that sits in line with the three main principles of sustainable construction. At Red Leaf Ground Screws we use high quality RADIX ground screws in all of our installations, a UK based ground screw manufacturer with sustainability in mind. Working together we’re able to provide high-quality sustainable foundation system to the whole of the UK.

Do you have a sustainable construction project? Get in touch with us today to discuss using helical ground screw foundations on your build.

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